Mark Drakeford ‘begins talks’ on more independence for Welsh Labour
Mark Drakeford has begun talks with UK Labour to remove centralised party control over members in Wales.
In a Morning Star interview to be published on Monday he said that he had spoken to Labour’s general secretary David Evans about the need for less centralised control over Welsh Labour.
“I had a good conversation with David at last week’s party conference in Brighton about how devolution inside the party needs to catch-up with devolution at governmental level,” he told the newspaper.
“I think there is a mood within the party in Wales for us to take more responsibility for decisions that apply to members who live in Wales.”
However, he said that more autonomy for Welsh Labour within the wider UK Labour Party would take time to develop.
“What I am keen to do is agree with the UK party that there is a process here and a direction of travel,” Mr Drakeford said.
Labour for an Independent Wales posted on social media to say that they welcomed the news.
“We support this vital move from our leader in ensuring that all decisions that affect Wales and Welsh Labour – from all policy, funding mechanisms, and candidate selections, to eventually (hopefully) a Welsh Labour whip in Westminster – are made by the party in Wales,” they said.
The move comes after Mark Drakeford told the Labour conference in Brighton that Labour should stop “looking at the world through a Westminster telescope” and learn from Welsh Labour’s example.
He said that the party should learn from other parts of the UK where Labour are winning elections rather than only analysing why they are failing to win power at Westminster.
“This conference is a chance to remind ourselves that despite being out of government at Westminster, Labour is in power, making a difference that only Labour can make, every single day, in places and communities right across Britain,” he said.
“When a political party has been out of power, at the UK level, for an extended period of time, then the need for soul-searching is obvious and necessary.
“It is right that we look hard at what we can and must do to win power again at Westminster.
“There’s a temptation look at the world through only a Westminster telescope and ask: ‘What went wrong?’
“But we should look at Labour’s many success stories across England, Scotland and Wales and understand what that tells us about how Labour can win the next General Election.
“In those success stories that we find a compelling answer to one of the most difficult challenges which all opposition parties face – even if our policies are popular, how can voters be confident that the party can translate those ideas into practice?
“The answer is: because we are already doing it and doing it, at scale, in large parts of the UK. In Parliaments, Town Halls and Mayoral offices across the land.
“From Manchester to Rhondda Cynon Taf; Dagenham to Swansea – across the country Labour is in power – standing up for individuals and communities and building innovative public services for the 21st century.”